Modeling land change and sustainability of Chinese large-scale agricultural investments in Central Tanzania

Authors: Puyang Li*, Arizona State University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Africa
Keywords: China; Tanzania; integrated modeling; sisal; social-environmental system
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

China has become the largest trade partner and one of the major land investors with Africa in this century. Various studies describe Chinese investment in large-scale land-based transactions in Africa as telecoupled land grabs to secure domestic needs for crops, energy and other material resources to support the second largest global economy. Whether these investments can generate quality employment, avoid dispossessing local people of their land, promote diversified and sustainable livelihoods, and catalyze more vibrant local economies remain under-documented.
This study seeks to open up a lens on this issue. It focuses on China’s engagements in sisal production and export in central Tanzania, and explores how these investment activities affect social-environmental conditions among the area’s inhabitants. The Chinese sisal estates generate wage labor for local, smallholder farmers as well as opportunities for the smallholders to produce and sale sisal to the estate, changing the structure of the local economy with major implications for smallholder cultivation and the environment at large. Integrated and agent-based modeling of social-environmental changes and their projections in the near future are used to explore the dynamics between the estates and smallholder farmers.

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